Using Custom Fonts on WordPress

One of my concerns with using WordPress for my site is that it is a bit more tricky to use custom fonts because the site code includes PHP and JavaScript in addition to html and CSS. I’m not trained as a programmer so quickly get out of my depth with anything beyond simple html or CSS.

My initial attempt involved using a child theme to include some @font-face CSS selectors. In theory this is a good way to address the problem, but my lack of understanding of PHP stalled my progress and was rapidly making a mockery of my desire to use WordPress to speed up my blogging.

After a good night’s sleep I decided to look for a plugin option. I found a promising one called Custom Fonts by “Brainstorm Force” which was easy to use and worked well. However, it requires specific themes to work (I chose one called Astra). When I had a look into this theme it is very complex and I really want to keep my site as simple as possible so kept searching for another option.

The one I settled on is Use Any Font, which is free to install and trial but cost me US$10 (NZ$16.21) to activate. This is OK for the convenience and time savings it gives me as it does exactly what I want.

There are loads of plugins that use Google fonts and these are very popular, but I am trying to avoid Google products and tracking codes on this site, hence fewer options and having to pay for them. Such is life without spyware.


Splitting WordPress XML files

I have moved my website from being hand coded in html to WordPress. Primarily my intention is to encourage myself to write and post more frequently without the barrier of fiddling around with html code each time – from experience I know that WordPress is easy and quick to use.

However, with any website platform change there are always some technical hurdles, so I’m going to note these as I encounter them, if only as a reference for myself in the future.

WordPress XML file too big to import

My first hiccup was that my WordPress Admin panel refused to import the xml file exported from my previous blog because it is too big (5MB). After some digging around I discovered that the likely reason is that I’m using budget web hosting and often the hosting company puts limits on the import file size to avoid excessive resource demands on their servers.

There are a few ways to address this issue, but one of the simplest is to chop the xml file into smaller bits so it can be imported in multiple steps. I chose to go this route because it made sense to my brain and I found a little app to do the cutting up of the file for me. This is useful because the file header and footer have to be included with each bit of the chopped up original file so that the importer knows what to do with the file.

The app that worked for me is WXR Splitter, suitable for Mac OS and a free download from Suhas Tech. All I had to do was download the app, enter the maximum file size I wanted it to generate (in my case 2MB) and then tell it where the original (big) xml file was. It worked like a charm despite being quite old (2012) and I am just hopeful the developer is honest and didn’t include malware! So far my computer is still behaving fine.


Chaplaincy Intensive 3

I have just finished the third of our ‘intensives’ for my Chaplaincy course I’m doing through Alphacrucis College. These are 3-day teaching sessions which really are quite intense but it has served to inspire me and show that the struggles I’ve been having trying to find a placement for my internship are not unusual, everyone is having their own trials and difficulties.



I’ve made a very deliberate choice to avoid any Google products/services on this site. This does mean I pay good money for fonts and analytics, but that’s what I believe in.


I am using custom fonts from the Klim Type Foundary in Wellington, New Zealand. The sans serif font is Karbon and the serif font is Tiempos.


This site is hosted by Webhosting NZ. The servers are located in Auckland, NZ which is appropriate for a Kiwi site and has the advantage of avoiding currency conversion charges.

My domain registrar is Iwantmyname, a company that started in Wellington, NZ and subsequently infected the world. I have used this company for about 5 years now and love the convenience and security of their web interface and responsiveness of their support. They make domain registration easy.


I value your privacy so use Simple Analytics to collect basic statistics about how many visits each page on the site receives.


I currently use a second-hand, early 2015, 13-inch MacBook Air. Text editor is the free version of BBEdit, and web browser is Safari. Dropbox, Evernote and Fastmail are indispensable services.


The current site design is brazenly stolen from Frank Chimero.


2019 Reading

Books I have read in 2019

This list is in the order that I finished these books.

  1. River of Blood: Tales of the Waiatoto by John Breen 6/10. A history of cattle farming and other adventures in the Waiatoto river system of south Westland near Haast. A tough country farmed by rugged individuals. My Dad even gets a passing mention! Finished 5 January 2019 (ISBN 978-1-877460-34-0).
  2. Alamut by Vladimir Bartol (translated by Michael Biggins) 10/10. An amazing novel. Set in eleventh century Iran with excellent historical detail and characterization, what really makes it brilliant is the insight into human nature, ideology and religion. The story itself is enthralling and for a novel of such depth it is easy to read. Started 5 January 2019, finished 19 January 2019, 389 pages (ISBN 978-1-55643-681-9).
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 7/10. Very readable and interesting but felt like an extremely long introduction to a story that never quite got going. Started 23 January 2019, finished 25 January 2019, 676 pages (Kindle edition).
  4. The Art of Attention, A Poet’s Eye by Donald Revell 5/10. Hard work to read, waffly and pretentious. I really didn’t learn anything from this book. Started 8 January 2018, finished 31 January 2019, 172 pages (ISBN 978-1-55597-474-9).
  5. The Art of the Poetic Line by James Longenbach 10/10. A very interesting book, I learned heaps and no doubt misunderstood a lot also. I need to read this book again some time. Started 31 January 2018, finished 4 February 2019, 128 pages (ISBN 978-1-55597-488-6).
  6. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss 7/10. Similar thoughts to the first book in this series, a good story, well paced, but still no resolution at the end. Started 6 February 2019, finished 15 February 2019, 1000 pages (Kindle edition).
  7. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker 10/10. An excellent journey into the complexities of sleep and how essential it is for functioning well, and even for survival. As a result of reading this I am actively trying to move my sleeping habits so that I can get a full 8 hours of good sleep every night. Started 12 February 2019, finished 24 February 2019, 341 pages (Kindle Edition).
  8. Madman by Tracy Groot 8/10. A well told story which kept me avidly turning pages right to the end. Started 29 February 2019, finished 5 March 2019, 385 pages (Kindle edition).
  9. Wired for Story by Lisa Cron 9/10. I learned a lot from this book, another one to read again. Started 20 January 2019, finished 6 March 2019, 274 pages (Kindle Edition).
  10. Holy Bible (NIV) Started 29 June 2018, finished 5 April 2019 (Allans edition).
  11. Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail. 7/10 A good story, though could do with tightening up the writing and editing. Started 30 March 2019, finished 9 April 2019, 780 pages (Kindle edition).
  12. The Asshole Survival Guide by Robert I. Sutton. 5/10 Maybe I expected too much but this book only delivered pop psychology and a few anecdotal stories. Started 9 April 2019, finished 11 April 2019, 208 pages (Kindle edition).
  13. Hidden Life of Prayer by David McIntyre. 7/10 Started 1 January 2019, finished 15 April 2019, 98 pages (Kindle edition).
  14. Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright. 8/10 An interesting exploration of the history of fascism and current regimes with fascist attributes. Also a sobering discussion of how Trump is undermining democracy both in America and beyond. Started 12 April 2019, finished 16 April 2019, 304 pages (Kindle edition).
  15. Poverty, Riches and Wealth by Kris Vallotton. 2/10 I read this because some folks in my church hold the author in high regard. I certainly cannot agree with his views on money. Started 6 February 2019, finished 17 April 2019, 208 pages (Kindle edition).
  16. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry 8/10. Started 18 April 2019, finished 28 April 2019, 453 pages (Kindle edition).
  17. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley 10/10. I loved reading this book. The heroine is funny and the story is engaging, I couldn’t put it down. Started 29 April 2019, finished 2 May 2019, 496 pages (Kindle edition).
  18. Bait by Helen Mathey-Horn 3/10. A reasonable story let down by a serious lack of editing and a naff ending.  Started 3 May 2019, finished 6 May 2019. 341 pages (Kindle edition).
  19. Chronicles of the Black Company By Glen Cook 6/10. Good story, again let down by poor editing. Started 10 May 2019, finished 18 May 2019, 705 pages (Kindle edition).
  20. Does Prayer Change Things? by R C Sproul 7/10. Started 18 April 2019, finished 22 May 2019, 98 pages (Kindle edition).
  21. The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage, or Fiction by Erik Bork 7/10. Started 7 May 2019, finished 24 May 2019, 228 pages (Kindle edition).
  22. Wake by Sherry Rossman 5/10. An OK story, but a bit disjointed. Started 14 May 2019, finished 25 May 2019, 240 pages (Kindle edition).
  23. The Dragon’s Egg by David A. Wells 7/10. Started 26 May 2019, finished 29 May 2019, 265 pages (Kindle edition).
  24. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett 8/10. Started 2 June 2019, finished 4 June 2019, 309 pages (ISBN 978-0-552-54905-9).
  25. Over The Hill But Not The Cliff by Lori B Rassas 7/10. As far as books about job hunting go, this one is quite good – not just a rehash of the same old ideas, it offers some genuinely useful advice. Started 23 April 2019, finished 5 July 2019, 168 pages (Kindle edition).
  26. Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide by John Patton 8/10. A good introduction to a very relevant topic as I begin my chaplaincy course. However, the Kindle edition does have a lot of broken words with spaces in strange places – the text needs to be better edited for Kindle. Started 25 July 2019, finished 24 August 2019, 122 pages (Kindle edition).
  27. Lycopolis by Ali Luke 7/10. Finished 25 August 2019, 304 pages (Kindle edition).
  28. The Diamond Throne by David Eddings 6/10. Finished 29 September 2019, 496 pages (ISBN 0-586-20372-9).
  29. The Ruby Knight by David Eddings 6/10. Finished 6 October 2019, 444 pages (ISBN 0-586-20373-7).
  30. The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings 6/10. Finished 11 October 2019, 652 pages (ISBN 0-586-20374-5).
  31. Breaking Intimidation by John Bevere 5/10. Recommended by Eric Gamperle. Main useful message for me was to remain mindful of living in the fear of God. Finished 6 November 2019, 206 pages (ISBN 0-88419-387-X).
  32. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff. Started 3 June 2019 (Kindle edition).

Poetry books

  • Selected Poems by William Bronk. Finished 19 January 2019 (ISBN 0-8112-1314-5).
  • Ballistics by Billy Collins. Started 27 February 2019, finished 5 April 2019 (ISBN 978-0-330-46438-3).
  • Landfall 235 Edited by Emma Neale. Started 8 January 2019, 208 pages (ISBN 978-1-98-853124-3).
  • Takahe 92 Edited by Jeni Curtis. Started 8 January 2019, 72 pages (ISSN 0114-4138).
  • Nonsense by Edward Lear. Started 30 January 2019, 53 pages (ISBN 978-0-241-25144-7).
  • Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018 Edited by Jack Ross. Started 31 January 2019, 257 pages (ISBN 978-0-9941473-3-2).

Audio books

  • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Finished 17 July 2019, 6.5 hours (Audible).

Disadvantages of always carrying a notebook

For at least the last five years I have carried a small notebook in my back pocket, a habit I highly recommend. I very seldom use my iPhone to capture short notes, anything I want to remember goes into my notebook.

However, I’ve discovered a few downsides to always having that notebook in my back pocket:

notebook pocket

I always keep my notebook in the same pocket, with the result that over time it has worn a hole in that pocket of my jeans. I would have thought my phone would have worn a hole, but I must carry the notebook around more than the phone.

This last weekend I was working in our back yard and got a bit wet at one point, with resulting damage to my previously pristine notebook:


It dried out OK so I’m continuing to use it. And the advantage of having used pencil in this notebook is that there were no issues with ink running.

Perhaps I will find more downsides to pocket notebooks as the years go by, but compared to the headaches I’ve had with smartphones over the same time span, old fashioned paper and pencil is remarkably robust.

Everyday Life

Pet tragedy

Last Saturday we had a distressing accident with one of our baby rabbits. A plank of wood which held down the rain cover over one of our rabbit hutches fell down into the hutch and hit a little rabbit named ‘Oreo’ on the head. It was a severe impact, breaking her front teeth and causing concussion and some sort of injury to her nasal passages making it hard for her to breathe.

We took her to the vet and they gave her oxygen, pain relief, and kept her as comfortable as possible. Then it became a case of waiting to see if she improved or deteriorated. She remained in the vet clinic overnight and we were pleased she survived the night. Unfortunately the blow to her head must have caused major brain trauma and severe injury to her nose because she was still struggling to breathe, was partially paralysed on her right side and seemed to still be in a lot of pain.

Our vet considered her long term chances of survival to be low and the poor little rabbit was distressed so we made the hard but hopefully humane decision to euthanise her to avoid further suffering.

I find the decision to end the life of a pet to be difficult and haunting, the internal debate of whether it was the right choice remains with me for a long time. I’ve had to make that call for two dogs in the last five years and despite it being the rationally obvious decision in both cases I still feel terrible for making that choice for both of them.

I’m well aware that in nature survival is a constant struggle for all animals and their normal state of existence is probably what I would call suffering for a pet, but as  Christian I consider this a result of the Fall rather than the original plan for creation (see Isaiah 11:6-9).

Everyday Life

Meet Marshmallow

Furry Friday cuteness, meet Marshmallow – as named by my son (the white baby bunny, Dusty her mum is in the background). The hutch is a custom creation from an old plywood packing crate.